1fl Intelligence Assessment

SECRET! CSIS IA 2009-10!83 2010 03 22

The Role of Dreams in the Justification of Jihad


Dream interpretation is closely tied to religious belief in Islam. Islamist extremists often reporthaving dreams about the Prophet Muhammad or fellow mujahideen. Dreams about religious figures can inspire extremists to act.

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SECRET! CSIS IA 2009-10183 20100322

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CAVEAT This report is issued under the authority of the Director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It is provided for the information of the recipient and colleagues ofthe recipient’s department or agency who have the appropriate securityclearance and may benefit from knowledge of its contents. This report may be paraphrased and used in internal departmental or agency correspondence. Neither the report norany of its contents should be disseminated outside the recipient’s department or agency without prior consultation with CSIS. The Director, CSIS, should be informed of any action taken by a department or agency based on its contents. This document constitutes a record which may be subject to mandatory exemption under the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act. The information or intelligence may also be protected by the provisions of the Canada Evidence Act. The information or intelligence must not be disclosed or used as evidence without prior consultation with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.


1. Dreams play an important role in Islam and are seen as a window into divine will.

This intelligence assessment discusses the role of dreaming in jihad, Dreams in Islam 2. One religious scholar has described Islam as the “largest dream culture in the world today”. Dreams are thought to offer a window to divine knowledge and will and are the source of in spiration and guidance for the dreamer. The Prophet Muhammad received Islam in what could be described as a dream-like state. Furthermore, one of the most symbolic events in his life occurred during his “night flight” to Jerusalem where he met Jesus and other prophets before ascending to heaven. Classic Islamic typology divides dreams into three categories: good (those that come from Allah), bad (those from Shaytan the Devil) and those from “one’s self’ (neither from Allah nor Shaytan). Dream interpretation is a very old function in Islam and the role of dreams is discussed in both the Quran and the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). Muhammad allegedly dreamed before

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CSIS IA 2009-10/83 2010 03 22

the Battle of Badr’ that the enemy forces were smaller than they were in reality, thus giving the Muslims confidence in victory. Symbols and images have been interpreted by dream scholars: for instance, if one dreams of being addressed by a ruler, this could signify the attainment of a high rank or goal.

Islamist Extremists and Dreams 3. Dreams provide a inspirational component of the world of the jihadist. Jthadists receive divine guidance offuture events and see the legitimacy of their actions in their dreams. Tn addition, dreams connect jthadists with the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the Golden Age of Islamic conquest and the presence of historical figures in dreams is seen as a revelation. Among the Islamist extremists who are reported to have experienced significant dreams ofjihad are Al Qaeda leader th Osama Binladen, Zacarias Moussaoui (the 20 hijacker”), Richard Reid (the “shoebomber”), Iraqi jihadist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, and Mullah Omar.

The Battle ofBadr was a pivotal clash in 624 between the embryonic Muslim nation and the inhabitants of Mecca in which the Muslim army defeated a much larger host.

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